Backwards compatibility is the biggest advantage the Xbox has over Sony's next-gen PlayStation 5, and it's about to get a whole lot better.
The reports were right. Microsoft is using more technical sorcery to significantly boost in-game frame rates in backwards compatible games. The new feature can double (and sometimes even quadruple) FPS in select titles. Right now, only a handful of games support this new feature:
- Watch Dogs 2
- Far Cry 4
- UFC 4 (60FPS on Series S)
- New Super Lucky's Tale (120 FPS)
- Sniper Elite 4
The optimizations aren't native, though, and require developers to work alongside Microsoft to roll out the new updates. That means devs have to be involved in the process and the Xbox Series X/S consoles won't just automatically boost frame rates (although the Series X can natively upgrade in-game performance without any dev input).
The Series X's upgraded 3.8 GHz 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU is largely responsible for the FPS boost, and the new 16GB of GDDR6 RAM helps ready data for processing. Devs are using this extra power to tremendously boost games built for the Xbox One's outdated Jaguar SoC.
Microsoft will also roll out new updates that make the new features more transparent. Gamers can toggle a UI notification that shows when a specific mode is active, including the new FPS Boost and Auto HDR modes.
With certain titles, we can make the experience even better, all with no work required by the developer, and no update needed by the gamer. To that end, the backward compatibility team has developed FPS Boost, which employs a variety of new methods for nearly doubling (and in a few instances, quadrupling) the original framerate on select titles.
Higher, steadier framerates make games visually smoother, resulting in more immersive gameplay.
We partnered closely with developers to enhance the experience while maintaining the game's original intent. And while not applicable to all games, these new techniques can push game engines to render more quickly for a buttery smooth experience beyond what the original game might have delivered due to the capabilities of the hardware at the time.